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online content writer

Why Today is the Era of the Online Content Writer

Anyone who has ever studied English or writing knows just how hilarious people think they’re being when they ask “What in the world are you ever going to do with that?”

It’s long been considered a source of fun and frivolity to pick on writers for their delicate sensibilities and their seemingly useless talents and training…until now.

Right now, you and I are living in the era of the copywriter as the online content writer, or SEO copywriter… and it’s arguable that there are few other skills that are in such high demand right now.

That’s right: high demand.

Copywriting is a broad profession that embodies many things and, now more than ever, people need copywriters to make their online businesses go around, to help their pages show up in search results, to execute good SEO, and to master the written word in order to provide value and excitement for readers.

online content writer

The Evolution of the Copywriter To The Online Content Writer

The role of the copywriter as it is today, with many jobs in online content writing specifically, has metamorphosed hugely since the inception of advertising.

So you think you can write julia mccoy

Back in the ‘30s and ‘40s, copywriters were charged with developing ad copy people would love, which typically meant it was full of puns, over-explaining, and outrageous exaggerations (like the 1937 Camel Cigarette ad whose headline was “for digestion’s sake – smoke Camels!”).

In the ‘60s and ‘70s, the job of copywriting began to change when Bill Bernbach, the first man to put copywriters and art directors together on projects, created a new-age copy creation team that was dedicated to producing ads that were more honest, stark, and open. Throughout the ‘80s and the ‘90s, copywriting continued to change: long copy dominated advertising and visuals became more important but in the year 2000, it all began to change.

Suddenly, visual gags were all the rage and body copy all but died altogether. Throughout the next several years, copywriting became a spammy profession that was focused on cramming as many keywords into a piece of content as possible or building sneaky, unethical links. Thanks to the pressures of the market and the overwhelming trend of copy in general, copywriting became an environment in which crappy content was king and black hats were in vogue.

Today, however, copywriting is a high-brow practice that requires extensive knowledge of SEO, marketing, and a wide variety of writing tactics that can help businesses put their best face forward.

The Changing Tides of Copywriting: Google, Value, and Other Factors

The reason for the evolution of online content writing that has taken place over the last decade has to do in large part with Google. Over the years, Google has released a series of updates aimed at targeting so-called “black-hat SEO” practices, such as keyword stuffing, doorway pages, invisible text, or page swapping, and rewarding sites that feature high-quality, original, valuable content.

These changes have made it nearly impossible for crappy sites to scrape by and, as such, the algorithm updates have created a brand new demand for talented, knowledgeable copywriters that know how to produce great site rankings through skill and technique rather than spammy, dark-side practices. As Google’s algorithm updates have only continued to press forward, this need has become more and more pronounced and, nowadays, it’s impossible for a site to rank or survive without a team of talented copywriters and other marketing professionals on staff.

4 Important Things Copywriters Need to Know

Despite its great demand right now, very few people know what copywriters actually do. We’re confused with journalists and, when the profession comes up at a dinner party, are often regarded with raised eyebrows and a deer-in-the-headlights sort of “Ohhhh” from the person who mistakenly asked what it is that we do. Nobody knows what copywriters do and that’s because we operate largely behind the scenes.

Despite this reality, copywriters play a large part in making the digital world go around and there are dozens of things copywriters need to know in order to do their jobs well. Here are just a few:

1. How to Write Electrifying Headlines

What makes you decide to read an article as you scroll through your Facebook feed? If you’re like most social media users, it’s the headline or the featured image or some combination of both. Little did you know that copywriters have a hand in both of those things, but specifically the headline. One of the most important jobs a copywriter has is to create magnetic headlines that draw audiences in and make them want to click on an article. This requires a little bit of a magic, a little bit of technical skill, and a whole lot of technique.

2. How to Use SEO Components in Writing

Copywriters are asked to create great content that wants to go viral and, aside from writing clearly and providing value to readers, there’s only one way to do this: SEO. SEO stands for “search engine optimization” and is the practice by which writers make content easy to read for both people and search engines. SEO entails everything from keyword usage to meta titles and descriptions and is an important part of making sure you can find exactly what you’re looking for online. Additionally, good SEO helps sites get their content out there in front of consumers and makes sure that google users can always find what they’re looking for when they enter a search queries in the search box.

3. How to Provide Value to Readers

People use search engines to ask and answer questions and one of the most important jobs of a copywriter is to ensure that the content that pops up in response to search queries is valuable, useful, and helpful. This means that copywriters must be able to anticipate reader questions and answer them from an empathetic and informative standpoint. They must also be able to cite sources, provide trustworthy research, include visuals for reference, and do everything in their power to ensure that the reader’s questions are answered and that he or she genuinely enjoys the content that presents itself.

4. How to use multi-media content to grab reader interest

Today, content is king but content is also a broad, broad term. Content entails everything, including but not limited to blog posts, articles, eBooks, white papers, social media posts, podcasts, Tweets, videos, images, memes, infographics, and video casts. In order to be effective in today’s content creation climate, copywriters need to know how to use all of these things and use them well. That means that it’s no longer enough for a copywriter to be good with a pen and paper – they also need to be part graphic designer, part marketer, part SEO, part visual artist, part documentary filmmaker and part research analyst in order to pull all these things together into one cohesive package. What’s more, copywriters need to know how to work with dozens of different blogging, content and image creation, and social media platforms in order to distribute content to a wide variety of readers effectively. How’s that for a laundry list of qualifications?

5. How to Write Well!

Last but not least, copywriters need to know how to write well! Nobody wants to slog through textbook-ish jargon online and that sort of junk only drives people away. Similarly, nobody wants to struggle through typo-heavy crap written by someone in a hurry. As businesses get busier and busier with all the aspects of marketing, promotion, and product development that they deal with on a daily basis, copywriters become more and more in demand. Content creation is a serious responsibility and a time-consuming obligation and often, there isn’t anyone on a business team who knows how to (or has the time to) do it well. This is one of the main reasons that copywriters are in such high demand right now – because they write clear, concise content that readers can understand, interact with, and enjoy. Tell that to all those people who made fun of you for being a writer.

Conclusion

Right now, copywriters are the magicians behind a significant portion of the web and, as web-based marketing continues to boom in the coming years, talented copywriters will only continue to become more and more popular. Whether we’re working on articles, eBooks, blogs or white papers, there is a huge amount of opportunity for copywriters right. We work in marketing, tech companies, brick-and-mortar businesses, and e-commerce settings.

Copywriting is hot right now and there is truly no shortage of places to use that wonderful talent of yours – writing!

We’re hiring at Express Writers! Apply as a writer or editor.

google jump

Why We Gained A Huge Google Penguin Jump & How You Can Too (Content Blueprint Inside)

Have you experienced big ranking changes? So have we. Apparently, one of the biggest updates to Google Penguin in over one year happened just a few weeks ago. (The last major update to Penguin was just over a full year ago, on October 3, 2013.)Dubbed Penguin 3.0, this new one was a worldwide update, not just a local hit. It was a refresh or update of the original Penguin. This means that the sites affected negatively wrongly by the last Penguin were freed of their penalties, if they had taken the recommended Google steps for recovery. (Not sure about this? See my section detailing Google recovery towards the end.)

Express Writers Dominates The SERPS

We were stopped dead in our tracks when we had 400 unique visitors in one day during a recent weekend, on Saturday. Then, four contact requests occurred Sunday evening. That never happens on a weekend!   We took a deeper look and saw that our overall ranking had increased majorly. We already had several dozen keywords dominating search: but today, we have rankings like we have never had before.

  • We’re ranking in the top 3 results of Google for 37 keywords
  • We have 88 keywords in the first page of Google
  • We have 136 keywords in the first 2 pages

Here are the stats in screenshots, from our SEO tool of choice, SEMRush.

What happened during the weekend of October 18:

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We are outranking some of our major competitors with keywords in the first results of Google.

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We increased in rankings on a few keywords: increased and we held strong on keywords where some of our competitors lost more than 50 positions. content-held-strongThis is awesome news for our company! We are staffing and hiring more team members this week due to the workload increase.  

What Were The Biggest Recent Google Updates?

I know, there’s been a ton, and it’s hard to keep up. Here’s a brief recap of the recent Google change history, so you can see just how many major changes Google has gone through in the past few months:

 

Our Content Blueprint: A Blog Every Other Day Keeps The Doctor Away

Here’s our content schedule. I’m going to tell you EXACTLY what we do.   This is a blueprint for anyone’s success, tailored to your level of services and amount of “news”, hot topics, and relevant pieces you can publish in a week or month. Remember, quality is most important. Never, ever force content. If you simply can’t get out a 3000 word blog three times a week without repeating yourself every week, drop down to once a week or twice at 1,000 words/blog. Change it up and find what works for you. The best days to publish are weekdays in the morning.

  • We publish 1,000-3,000 word blogs on our site three days a week with links to other quality sites, and visuals (screenshots/images).  We post each blog to all our social media networks.
  • I publish one original blog a week (not too much more than 800 words) on my LinkedIn profile.
  • We post on social media multiple times every day, tweeting our industry peers, sharing industry content, and our own blogs multiple times. We also publish custom-made visuals with hashtags (like these).
  • We guest blog (maximum once-a-week) on five major platforms: SiteProNews, SocialMediaToday, SEMRush, SEO.com, and recently, one of the hottest platforms in our niche, SearchEngineJournal.
  • We publish press releases with PRWeb every few months.
  • We publish (on our blog) infographics about three times a year.

Our content blueprint is exclusive to Express Writers. I haven’t copied this strategy. As a copywriting company, centering on web-based content, we can say one thing: we know how to write content. And if content is the #1 thing that Google wants these days, well—we’re just going to keep being winners!   And we want you to be too.

What Can We Do For You From This List?  We can write all your blog content, publish it with a monthly schedule, and coming up we’ll have revamped social media plans that INCLUDE custom visuals! We can also write and publish press releases on PRWeb and write/create infographics for you. Disclaimer: If you want guest blogs, we don’t find or do any network management. You have to get on your guest blog platform of choice; we only write your content. But, it will be stellar enough to uphold your reputation on an awesome guest blog site.   Now, moving back to the Google update changes…

 

Were You Hit? If You Haven’t Already, Here Are The Google Steps For Recovering

If you’re experiencing a hit in rankings, then you probably haven’t done the necessary steps to recover from the Google Penguin penalties. Here’s a brief how-to.

 

Have A Deeper Problem? Look At Panda And Fix Your Content (Now)

If you have a steady decline that goes past a sudden de-ranking from Penguin, time to take a look at Panda. Google is actually calling Panda a Quality Algorithm instead of a penalty. Panda was a site-wide penalty that affects all rankings for organic keywords, which will hit you if your site is featuring low quality content. Your entire site gets a lower quality score because of the problematic content, making it nearly impossible to rank at all till you fix the problem.

 

I hope this blog and real-life case study helps you. If you have any questions for me or if you think I’ve left out any information, let me know in the comments!  

 

Photo credits SEMRush.com (Screenshots taken 11-5-14)

secrets for google ranking

Copywriting For SEO: Your Secrets for Top Google Rankings

With offline marketing, all you have to do is add a cute girl in a bikini, and you have the attention of virtually everyone within a 100-foot radius of the billboard. SEO online marketing & copywriting is not this simple.

What Copywriting For SEO Is and What It Is Definitely Not!

As website traffic becomes harder to get, the websites choosing to employ copywriting SEO tactics will likely convert more readers and boost sales. When it comes to marketing the products and/or services you offer on the Internet, it is very important that you use good quality SEO copy. This is because good quality content has a way of capturing the attention of your target audience; it speaks to them.

Copywriting for SEO is a content production technique that is used to inform and also encourage readers to take action.

To some people, copywriting for SEO simply means stuffing the content with keywords or key phrases. For example, if you were targeting the term “gift basket Pocatello” you may be tempted to add the term “gift basket Pocatello” into the content as often as possible hoping that the webpage may possibly rank high for the term “gift basket Pocatello”.

But here’s the gotcha. Repeating keywords or key phrases may make the copy sound utterly ridiculous. Silly-sounding copy is more likely to force readers to hit the back button and that is not very conducive to building business.

The keyword stuffing approach existed a few years back (and actually worked) when search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN placed a whole lot of importance on keyword density. Not anymore. Now, search engines have stopped using this metric for website ranking—instead, they will penalize if you try it today.

Integrating Copywriting with Search Engine Optimization

There are two factors to search engine optimization: external and internal. The external factor concerns aspects beyond your website. Google will rank your website by looking at links that point to your website from other web pages.

The second factor is the pages on your website. Thankfully, you have control over these web pages. When you employ copywriting SEO techniques to create well written, interesting content, then more people will be happy to link to your website. As soon as visitors arrive on your website, they will most likely find your content to be very engaging. If your website boasts of very interesting content, your readers will stay longer and this will possibly give your page ranking a big boost.

The external and internal factors will need to work well together in order to get the best out of your search engine optimization strategy. It is more than just getting your target audiences to your website through search engines; it is also about what visitors to your website will do when they land there. Writing that does not create the magic to hook that keeps readers engaged can make you lose hard-worn website visitors.

In a nutshell, you need to learn copywriting SEO skills that work. According to one of the resources on Unbounce.com, there are ways to develop powerful calls to action when producing copy for your website. Mashable.com even offers information about interesting resources for improving your search engine optimization skills.

How to Correctly Structure Your Web Copy

Use Captivating Headlines. One of the most vital aspects of copywriting SEO is creating headlines that will arrest the attention of target readers and draw them in. If you fail to use a captivating headline, people will simply not bother to read further.

When it comes to search engine optimization, the headline sure plays a very vital role. When users click-through on the link text from search results, they expect to see similar headlines on the pages they land on. This will serve as proof that they have found the information that they are looking for.

Always Appeal to Readers’ Self Interest

There is no way this is going to come out without seeming like an insult, okay, here goes. Readers are really not interested in you or the product or service you offer—whoa! That was really hard to type.

You need to understand that readers are only interested in themselves. Thus, effective copywriting SEO will make an appeal to the readers’ self-interest. Use tested and proven ways to appeal to a person’s self-interest are:

List The Benefits

Listing the benefits of a product or service will involve mentioning what the product or service can do for the reader. For instance, an iPod “holds your entire music library in your small pocket!” A product’s benefits are usually stated as verbs (action or doing words).

Another example, “the iPod’s beautiful slim shape will make it easy to slide in your front or back pocket.” You may have noticed how the slim shape of an iPod (which is supposed to be a feature) is turned into a benefit. “…easy to slide into your front or back pocket”, this is no doubt a powerful copywriting SEO technique that links the product’s features and benefits, and therefore makes them memorable.

Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse

Everyone is very familiar with offers such as “BOGO (Buy One Get One)”, “Buy Now Pay Later” and so on. Offers make for a compelling yet simple headline. Offers can be powerful headlines and are known to work well when readers are already familiar with your brand. Offer headline may not work at all if your product or service requires some explaining.

Give News

People simply enjoy hearing news. This is because they like knowing what’s new and fresh. Examples of headline integrating a news element are: Drive A Vehicle Powered By Water. Or, Choose the Cheapest Flights While You Are Asleep.

There is no doubt that these headlines simply imply a sort of change to the status quo. Seriously, who would not want to know all about driving in a car that is powered by water? People love news, and will feel it is their obligation to share their new found information with others.

You owe it to your business to learn copywriting for SEO correctly.